Free senior railcards for West Sussex pensioners could be scrapped

Rail tickets
Rail tickets

West Sussex County Council is considering dropping its senior railcard scheme in an attempt to save money.

The one-year cards, which allow pensioners one-third off the price of off-peak tickets, could soon be a thing of the past, as the council tries to cut its budget by £75.5million over the next four years.

Launching a consultation into the idea, a council spokesman said: “Like most councils across the country, we are facing significant financial pressures with reduced funding from central government and increasing demand on our services.

“This means we have to make some difficult decisions about how we use the limited resources we have.

“We have looked at where savings can be made as part of a review of our support for local bus services and concessionary travel.

“Before any decisions are made, we are keen to gather feedback from passengers and others to help us understand the impact of our proposal.”

Around 2,000 people use the railcard scheme and, if the proposal goes ahead, they would have to fork out £30 to buy one of the cards themselves.

A council spokesman said: “The proposal would save up to £50,000.

“All people who hold a railcard are eligible to receive the statutory bus pass instead, so the size of the saving would depend on the number of people who take up their bus pass and use it.”

The government provides the council with money to pay for the national free bus pass scheme, which allows older and disabled people to travel for free during certain hours.

West Sussex currently tops that up by providing the money to allow disabled people to travel free at any time while a companion pass allows carers/companions to travel free.

Earlier this year, it was suggested that £200,000 could be saved by cutting these services – but they have not been included in the consultation.

The consultation will run until December 4. To take part, log on to haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/highways-and-transport/concessionaryrail